Walls come tumbling down as Hawera's town centre upgrade begins
The ground shook and concrete dust filled the air in the centre of Hawera as the 123-year-old Campbell building was torn down.
A small crowd cheered as the facade fell around 5.30pm on Thursday, the most dramatic part of the demolition process that began about three weeks ago on Hawera's main street.
A digger with a long extension arm was used to pull the supporting walls, then the building's facade, down.
While the building's exact age is unknown, lettering on the facade stated 'established 1893'. It was originally used as a grocery store by the Campbell brothers, according to South Taranaki District Council records.
The removal of the old earthquake-prone building by Collingwood Civil marks the start of Hawera's first town centre redevelopment project.
In its place by the end of the year will be the new Campbell Lane, a pedestrian thoroughfare with paving, green space, trees, seating, entrance pillars and lighting columns leading through to Cornish's carpark.
Final plans are still being finalised for the project.
"The aim is to better connect the Cornish's Car Park with the main street retail area and improve use of the free, unrestricted parking that is available," South Taranaki District Council project co-ordinator Phil Waite said.
Design work is near completion and Waite said the project could be finished by Christmas.
A second open air walkway, Butcher's Lane, on the other side of High St, is the next project planned as part of the council's $12.8 million town centre revamp.
The second walkway will link to the free Napier St carpark, with physical work to begin later this year, Waite said.
A former butcher's shop building is being removed to make way for the walkway, but it will leave its name behind.
The building beside the Grubi Arcade had previously been, amongst other things, a butchery, fruit and vege shop, wine bar and hot bread shop